Councils increasingly have to focus resources on immediate statutory social care needs, putting prevention services at risk, according to a report on London’s social care sector by London Councils, which represents the 32 boroughs and the City of London.
The Adult Social Care In London report reveals that between 2016/17 and 2019/20, London boroughs will face a funding gap of £2.4 billion in their adult social care budgets as they deal with inflation, new burdens and the growing number of people qualifying for state-funded care. How they will meet these demands is currently unclear.
London Councils is calling on the Government to recognise this funding gap in the Comprehensive Spending Review on Wednesday (25 November).
If the projected £2.4 billion funding shortfall is not addressed, the progress that councils have made in delivering social care services and managing future demand will be put at risk. Already in 2015/16, investment in prevention programmes aimed at delaying and reducing pressure on health and social care services has dropped by around six per cent.
In London, the number of adult social care users who are aged 18-64 is set to rise by 60 per cent over the next five years, compared to a 40 per cent increase in other UK regions. Early intervention using prevention services could reduce the likelihood of these people requiring social care in the future.
Cllr Ray Puddifoot, London Councils’ Executive member for adult social care, said:
“Boroughs are taking responsibility for arranging care for people who need support and are working to prevent health issues from becoming more serious. But funding constraints could see councils focusing more on essential statutory duties and meeting urgent needs at the expense of other important services, storing up trouble for the future.
“With additional Government support, we can reduce the projected £2.4 billion funding gap for statutory adult social care in London between now and 2020 and align health and social care more closely to improve the efficiency and quality of services. This will help boroughs and the NHS to transform for the better and manage demand in years to come.”
The report also shows that between now and 2020, 60 percent of the projected national growth in adults who have learning disabilities will be in London and 39 per cent of the national increase in people with mental health issues will be in London.